Michigan House Republicans jumped on Twitter to demonstrate they “understand women” and quickly proved how clueless they really are. Three GOP House Reps were photographed holding fashion magazines. Michigan Representatives Victory, Glardon and Pettalia smugly help up copies of “women’s magazines”, and Representative Pettalia quipped “Don’t say we don’t understand women.” One has to be pretty deeply immersed in misogynistic patterns of thought to think that the secret to securing more women voters is as simple as holding up a copy of Glamour magazine in front of camera.
Republicans continue to have difficulty re-branding themselves as a female friendly party. In Michigan, even running a woman for U.S. Senate has done little for the GOP’s image, because that woman, Terri Lynn Land, infamously remarked that women do not want equal pay with men, because they prefer job flexibility to better salaries. Land’s ardent defense of GOP misogyny has put her at a significant disadvantage against Democrat Gary Peters who has consistently held a double-digit lead over Land with female voters throughout 2014.
The Michigan GOP’s latest stunt to attract women voters was deservedly ridiculed almost immediately. Four women members of Michigan’s Democratic House delegation, retorted with a tweet stating “Real women read bill not fashion mags…” The accompanying photo showed the four Reps scanning proposed legislation.
Of course the central issue is not whether or not women should or should not read fashion magazines, but where do the candidates stand on issues important to women? While not all women think alike, when one looks at issues like reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work, and addressing domestic violence, it is pretty clear that the Republican Party fails to understand what matters to most women. While they can always find a steady pool of female candidates to run on the GOP platform, that pool is unrepresentative of the majority of women in the country. For that reason, Republican candidates run poorly with female voters, not only in Michigan but across the country. Having three male Republican lawmakers awkwardly holding up fashion magazines, with self-satisfied grins on their faces will not close that gender gap with voters. However, it may widen the gap as Republicans once again prove how little they understand women.